No matter where I am, or how busy my days, I have long turned to nature to find calm, quietude and perspective. Looking at a sky full of stars, a stunning sunset at the beach or even — as happened during a recent visit to Golden Gate Park — the crisp whoosh of a waterfall, they all refresh my spirit and leave me feeling as if I’ve hit an internal reset button, a fresh start at hand.
Waterfalls in particular remind me of being in Kyoto, where they figured prominently in ancient Shinto purification rituals. Over the centuries, cleansing has remained an important part of Japanese culture, and I’m always struck by the sense of balance many of the modern-day habits there play into this.
The word used to describe these daily practices is kiyome, or purification, and refers to small acts that are as much about clearing the mind as cleaning away dirt and debris. I’ve found that incorporating modern kiyome into my life helps me recreate that little bit of Kyoto wherever I may be. Here are some simple ways to bring kiyome into your day:
• Washing my face is one of my favorite rituals of the day, morning and night. I never enjoyed it until I started using cleansing oil. There is something about closing your eyes, massaging your skin and facial muscles for just a few moments that clears the mind and relaxes the spirit.
• A cluttered desk is a cluttered mind. Whenever I need to clear my mind at Tatcha, I start by cleaning my desk. Using a surface cleaner with citrus elevates the mood to put you in the right headspace to think beautiful thoughts too!
• When cleaning the desk is not enough, meditation is a tried and true way to cleanse the mind. Even 60 seconds of silence, with your eyes close and focused deep breathing does wonders when I need a second wind.
• Before bed, I love soaking the day away with a shower and then soak, which is popular in Japan. The shower is to cleanse the body, as the bath soak is to clear the mind. (Since there is a drought in California, I hop into the bath with my 5-year-old daughter to save water and get caught up on her day)
• At bedtime, fresh bedding is another way to feel refreshed and present. Scientific studies have shown that climbing into a newly made bed of laundered sheets immediately soothes the spirit and I couldn’t agree more!
Taking a few moments and bringing these small, simple rituals into my day truly makes a difference for me—and I hope you might find it useful too. It doesn't always take a waterfall to lead to a watershed moment, but any small step can help rinse away the past and open the heart to a beautiful beginning.